Darwin—With his teammates reeling in a losing streak that has dropped the club from first to last in the competitive East, young lefty Scott Kazmir (12-9, 3.92) flirted with greatness on Game Day 121, taking a no-hitter into the seventh and (with a little ‘help’ from teammate Chone Figgins) finished with a one-hitter on 112 pitches, fanning the final batter (Jimmy Rollins) as an exclamation point to a 9-0 whitewashing of visiting Luchadores.

Las Vegas was looking for a sweep after taking the first two games of the series, but their man (Aaron Heilman) got into trouble right away, as David Ortiz clubbed a one-out homer with two men on to give Darwin an early 3-0 lead. Heilman settled in for awhile, but in the fifth the roof came unglued, with Lance Berkman connecting for his team-leading 36th round-tripper as the Unnatural Selections scored five times against Heilman and two relievers.

The only drama that remained in the game was the emerging no-no. Matt Holliday got a free life in the fourth when Figgins dropped a pop-up in foul territory down the line, but flew out harmlessly to center. The Luchadores went 1-2-3 in both the fifth and the sixth, but in the seventh, with two out, that man Holliday came up----again-----took a vicious cut at a change-up----again----and popped it up to Figgins----again. And Figgins----dropped it for an error. Holliday then lined the next pitch he saw to the gap in right-center, a sure double, and the end to the no-hitter.

Showing no emotion, Kazmir worked Manny Ramirez pretty much the same way and got a pop up to short to end the threat. And that was it for Las Vegas’s offense, really—no other batter would reach either by hit, walk or an error----bringing a great deal of scrutiny to the play of Figgins, who not only has had his issues at third subbing for the injured Eric Chavez, but who has yet to provide the leadoff spark sought by the Finches when they traded for him, hitting a punchless .220 with virtually no walks or stolen bases. Darwin is expected to move Finches to a less-demanding outfield spot when Chipper Jones (no great shakes in the field, himself) is able to swing the bat again.

In other BARB action:

WP: Francisco Rodriguez (4-4, 2.43)
LP: Jason Isringhausen (4-9, 6.11)

Edgar Renteria led off the bottom of the 10th with a walkoff homer off Jason Isringhausen, ‘Izzy’s’ 11th blown save of the year, as the Moabs completed a rally from being down 6-1 after five innings to force extra innings and earn the win. "K-Rod" put in his longest outing of the year, going four innings, in gaining the win (and taking some pressure off the over-worked Moabs setup corps). Alex Rodriguez hit a grand slam in the first off rookie Fausto Carmona, and had to be shaking his head in disbelief after he and teammates led 6-0 after two innings.

WP: Scott Shields (4-0, 2.71)
LP: Jamie Moyer (4-6, 5.51)

Scott Shields bailed out an ineffective (3 1P, 9 H) Jake Peavy with three innings of shutout relief, and the Firebirds bats, led by rookie Ryan Braun (HR, 4 RBI), scored enough off of Moyer and two relievers to make a laugher out of a 4-4 tie in the fourth. Justin Morneau and Adam Dunn both homered in the loss for Black Mesa.

WP: Bronson Arroyo (14-5, 3.99)
LP: Tim Hudson (8-14, 4.58)

What does a high win total mean? In the case of Bronson Arroyo, who finally got his ERA below 4.00 after 24 starts, it doesn’t mean as much as you think—except that the athletic sinker/slider artist has been able to stick around in games long enough to benefit from a rally, including four complete games on the year. Tim Hudson allowed only one run through the first seven innings, but Arroyo was better. And—thanks to Carlos Beltran, who singled, stole second and scored on a groundout—he had a run to work with.

WP: Brad Henessey (5-7, 3.94)
LP: Derrick Turnbow (4-4, 6.79)

Brandon Webb allowed only one run on four hits through seven innings, but could only watch in disbelief as three relievers combined to allow four runs in the Rockets’ last two innings of play, including a pair of homers from mostly-forgotten former CF Johnny Damon, as well as a game-winning double with two out in the bottom of the ninth by Torii Hunter.

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